Current Version plugins

Firefox 61.0 release overview

Mozilla plans to release Firefox 61.0 to the Stable channel today. Since all Firefox releases are in sync, today is also the release data for Firefox 60.1 ESR, Firefox 52.9 ESR, and Firefox 62 Beta and Firefox 63 Nightly.

Firefox 61.0 introduces new features and improvements. Firefox users who use tab management extensions benefit from the new ability to hide the main tab bar in the version of the browser.

The new version makes it easier to add search providers to Firefox, and it includes quite a range of under the hood improvements next to that.

Executive Summary

Firefox 61.0 download and update

firefox 61.0

Firefox 61.0 will be distributed through the web browser’s automatic update system later today. Firefox users can run manual checks for updates to download the new version as soon as it gets released.

Select Menu > Help > About Firefox to display the current version of the browser and run a check for updates.

If you prefer to download Firefox manually, use the following links that point to Mozilla to do so.

Firefox 61.0 Changes

Add Search Engines from the Page Action menu

firefox page action search

Firefox 61.0 makes it easier to add new search engines to the browser. While Firefox users have access to plenty of options to add new search providers to the browser, things were not super easy for Firefox users who don’t display the search bar.

Mozilla hides the search bar of the browser for new installations by default and added so-called one-off search options to the address bar.

The search bar indicates if a compatible search function is found on any website you visit and provides you with the means to add the search engine to Firefox.

The Page Action menu of Firefox supports that option as well now. Just click on the menu (the three dots in the address bar), and select the “add search engine” option to add it.

Firefox detects search engines that support open search only. One core difference between the Page Action menu and the Search Bar is that the Page Action menu does not highlight found search engines unless you click on the menu.

Homepage change notification

homepage changed

Firefox displays a door hanger notification when extensions modify the home page of the browser. The door hanger informs users about the fact and displays options to disable the extension to return the homepage to the previous state.

While you could say that users should be aware of home page changes simply by opening the homepage in the browser, less tech savvy users may have had issues in the past to identify the source of the change.

Tab Warming enabled

firefox tabs warming

Tab Warming is a new feature of the Firefox browser that reduces or even eliminates the delay when Firefox users switch between tabs in the browser.

Tab Warming can best be described as pre-loading of open tabs in the browser; this happens only when users hover the mouse cursor over tabs. Firefox uses the time between parking the mouse cursor over an tab and clicking with the mouse to switch to that tab to start the rendering process already.

You can disable the feature by setting about:config?filter=browser.tabs.remote.warmup.enabled to false.

Tab Warming is available for Windows and Linux according to the release notes.

About:preferences#home

about:preferences home

Firefox 61.0 ships with a new Home section in the preferences. These are accessed with a click on the settings icon on the new tab page or by loading about:preferences#home directly in the address bar.

The following options are provided on the page:

  • Change homepage and new windows default URLs.
  • Change New Tab page.
  • Disable extensions that control the home page.
  • Change the content that Firefox displays on the New Tab page.

Other changes

  • Faster page rendering thanks to Quantum CSS improvements (parallel CSS parsing).
  • Dark Theme support improvements.
  • Firefox does not support ftp:// to load subresources. FTP:// is still supported as a top-level URL.
  • The latest draft of the TLS 1.3 specification is turned on by default.
  • Mac OS X users of Firefox can use the Page Actions menu of the address bar to share URLs.
  • Bookmark syncing has been improved.
  • Out of process extensions enabled on Mac by default
  • Fixed implementation of proxyConfig API: non-socks proxy settings don’t fail anymore.
  • Retained display lists to retain display lists from paint to paint. Initial benchmark suggests that the feature results in a 40% reduction in dropped frames.

Firefox 61.0 Issues

none listed.

Developer Changes

One of the biggest changes in Firefox 61.0 is that tab management extensions can now hide the tab bar. Firefox displays a small down arrow icon only in the tab bar when tabs are hidden.

Extensions that display tabs in the sidebar vertically may hide tabs in the main tab bar. Up until now, tabs could only be displayed in the sidebar and in the main tab bar which was redundant.

Mozilla improved the Forget button that users of Firefox may add to the Firefox toolbar as it removes Service Workers and cache data.

Other developer related changes:

  • Accessibility Inspector is now available.
  • New UI for the browser console & browser toolbox.
  • Lots of Network Monitor improvements, e.g. a new Cache tab to see cached resources.
  • CSS parsing parallelized.
  • SameSite cookie directive is available.
  • Auto-complete popups support themes.
  • Themes support fully transparent values.
  • All toolbar properties apply to the find bar.

Firefox 61.0 for Android

Not a big release. Firefox for Android benefits from Quantum CSS improvements and faster scrolling thanks to “treating touch event listeners as passive by default”.

TLS 1.3 has been enabled as well, and a crash issue has been fixed on Samsung Galaxy S8 devices running Android 8.0.

Security updates / fixes

Firefox 61 patches 19 different vulnerabilities of which 7 have received the highest severity rating of critical. You find the full list of fixed issues here.

Outlook

The next Firefox Stable release is scheduled for September 5, 2018. Firefox Stable will be moved to Firefox 62.0, and Firefox ESR 52.x and 60.x to Firefox 60.2. The release ends support for Firefox’s classic add-on system in all versions of Firefox supported by Mozilla.

Additional information / sources

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